I am telling you if there is a God, when I get to heaven I’m not stopping to be interviewed. I am heading straight in. I have earned my place in heaven. It’s not even close. – Michael Bloomberg
Michael Bloomberg died and approached the Pearly Gates. Saint Peter looked up from a thick book, and said, “A lot of people have been looking forward to this moment, Mayor. Go right in.”
Heaven was loud. There was music playing in the distance to his left, and gunshots going off to his right. He turned right and started walking.
He soon reached a shooting gallery, and was appalled at what he saw. Hundreds of people were carrying guns, and shooting at targets at the end of a large field. The targets were moving, and on closer examination, he saw they were people. Saddam Hussein was there, along with Osama Bin Laden and Stalin and Mao and dozens of rough looking people he couldn’t identify. They were trying to dodge bullets, hiding behind rocks and sparse cover. Every time they ducked behind a rock it disappeared after a few seconds, leaving them exposed. As he watched in horror, a bullet hit Osama in the throat, knocking him over, as one of the shooters exclaimed, “Got him!” Osama screamed, then dropped to the ground. His body quivered, convulsed, and then he died.
Ten seconds later, he came back to life, shivered a bit, and then started dodging bullets again.
The tiny mayor had seen enough. He turned and headed toward the music.
It was some kind of festival, in a park that seemed to go on forever. On stage, Freddy Mercury was belting out a song. Behind him, Ray Charles was pounding the keys of his baby grand, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Duane Allman were trading guitar licks, and Keith Moon was playing the drums. The music was loud. Very loud.
The little man was watching the dancers who had gathered at the front of the stage, when Farrah Fawcett walked up to him. She looked like an angel. She held out an open box of cigars – Cuban Montecristo #2s – and said “Take One.” He hesitated, then declined. He noticed several people smoking them, filling the air with slightly bluish smoke.
There were waiters everywhere, passing out a variety of food, drinks, and smokes. One was offering everyone very, very large cups of soda.
He had seen enough. He stormed back to the gate where St. Peter was having a discussion with someone. “Peter!” he shouted. “I demand to see God right now!” Peter shrugged and snapped his fingers.
The gate faded, and Bloomberg found himself sitting in an office. The man behind the desk looked like a combination of George Burns, Morgan Freeman and Brian Dalton, with just a touch of Alanis Morrissette. He looked at Bloomberg and said, “What can I do for you?”
“I don’t mean to complain,” said Bloomberg, “But people are doing things that are just…not right.”
God leaned back, a trace of a smile on his face, and said, “Please, go on.”
“We need some rules,” said Bloomberg. “We have to help people make the right decisions. For instance, in New York City we didn’t allow dancing without a cabaret license.”
God said, “So you’d like to see some rules put in place? Very well.” God snapped his fingers. A sheet of parchment and a quill pen appeared on the desk in front of him. He looked at the quill and said, “Michael Bloomberg’s Rules.” The quill scratched across the top of the parchment, writing The Almighty’s words in perfect calligraphy.
“No dancing without a cabaret license,” said God, and the pen danced and wrote The Lord’s command. He looked up and said, “What else?”
“No alcohol served without a liquor license.”
“Done,” said Jehovah, and the pen moved across the page.
“And no tobacco in public places, it’s disgusting. And no e-cigarettes in public either.”
“OK,” said God, and the pen did its thing.
“No loud music without a permit. And no guns. And no soft drinks bigger than sixteen ounces.”
God nodded as the pen wrote it all down. He asked, “Anything else?”
“That will do for now, I guess,” said Bloomberg.
“Ok, I’m going to add one more thing. These rules will be in force for one billion trillion years, sixteen eternities, twenty-seven forevers and eleven thousand years after that. I like David Bromberg.”
Bloomberg had no idea who that was, but said, “Thank you.”
“You are not allowed to bother me again until that amount of time has passed. Agreed?”
God smiled. Well, smirked. Then he snapped his fingers. A lit Cuban Montecristo #2 appeared in his hand. He took a long drag, then blew the smoke in Bloomberg’s direction. Bloomberg resisted the urge to lecture God on the dangers of second hand smoke. Instead, he asked, “How soon will these rules go into effect?”
“They’re in effect right now,” God said. He took another long puff on his cigar, then held it up and examined it. “This,” he said, “This, is proof that I exist.” The office faded to gray, and Bloomberg was back in the park.
Nothing had changed. The music was still loud, the people were still dancing, and quite a few of them were smoking Cuban Montecristo #2s.
He was thirsty, and grabbed a bottle of soda from a passing waiter’s tray. The waiter stopped and grabbed it back. “Sorry, Mayor, but that’s a 17 ounce bottle. You can’t drink that.”
“OK,” said Bloomberg, “Give me a small one.”
“That is a small one,” the waiter said. “That’s the smallest we have here in heaven.” He walked away, laughing.
The band was still playing, and they were still too loud. But the music was great, and he found himself moving to it, just a bit. Suddenly, his feet froze to the ground and the rest of his body was locked in position. He had to relax completely before he could move again.
Another waiter walked by, with a tray full of single malt scotches. He pointed, and said, “I’ll take one of those.”
“Sorry,” said the waiter, “you don’t have a license.”
“I don’t need a license, you idiot, you need the license.”
The waiter laughed and moved away quickly.
Other waiters passed, carrying trays full of forbidden foods. He made several attempts to grab some, but his fingers always closed on empty air while the waiters laughed and laughed.
He searched the crowd for Ferrah, and finally found her. “I’ll take one of those,” he said, pointing at the cigars. She laughed at him.
“Now you can’t have one, Mr. Mayor.”
“But everyone else is smoking them. And eating things they’re not supposed to be eating and drinking what they’re not supposed to be drinking. Why? God said those rules would go into effect instantly.”
“Oh they did,” she said, still laughing. She held out her hand and the list appeared in it. She handed it to him. “Read it.”
He read it. When he was done, he looked puzzled. “I don’t understand,” he said.
She giggled. “Read the first line, out loud.”
“Michael Bloomberg’s Rules.”
She smiled at him, waiting for him to figure it out.
He figured it out. “Wait, you mean these rules are only for me?”
“Yes! Why should you spoil everyone else’s fun?”
Bloomberg heard laughter coming from all directions. He looked up. They were all laughing at him.
“Oh, one more thing,” said the angel, and she reached out and lightly touched his ears.
The music died. There was nothing left of it but a faint whisper, just enough to make him long to hear it again. But he could still hear the laughter clearly.
“Wait!” he yelled at the crowd, waving his list at them. “This isn’t fair! This isn’t what I wanted! I do not intend to be laughed at for an eternity!”
“Sixteen eternities,” Ferrah said, striking the pose that had once graced twenty million bedroom walls. “A billion trillion years, sixteen eternities, twenty-seven forevers and eleven thousand years after that. But there’s always Thursdays.”
“Why, what happens on Thursdays?”
“On Thursdays you’re a target in the shooting gallery.”
The laughter became unbearably loud.